Barriers to protection


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Gender issues in the system of classifying refugees in the South African Asylum

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  • gender’ was not specifiedIt was under ‘particular social group
  • Barriers to protection

    1. 1. Bernadette Jardino
    2. 2. The South African asylum system Common crime vs. persecution Safe/unsafe, peace/war Culture as Political
    3. 3. 2008 Refugees Amendment Act • „gender‟ as the seventh ground for asylum • Passed unnoticed • Only country in the world to include „gender‟ as a binding ground for asylum
    4. 4. (a) Out of fear of persecution for reasons of race, tribe, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside of their country of their nationality and is unwilling or unable to give themselves to the protection of that country, or, not having a nationality and being outside the country of their former residence is unable, or unwilling out of fear, to return to it; (Refugees Act 1998,3a)
    5. 5. (b)Due to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disrupting public order in either part or the whole of their country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave their place of residence and seek refuge elsewhere. (Refugees Act 1998, 3b)
    6. 6. Refugee Status Determination Officers • Hold the responsibility for deciding on the validity and credibility of asylum applications in South Africa • Had three (3) options:  Accept the claim  Unfounded  Manifestly unfounded
    7. 7. Standing Committee on Refugee Affairs RSDO accept reject Rejected * RSDO are the most crucial actors in the system
    8. 8. 1. Lack of adequate official interpretation 2. Backlog of asylum cases and fast tracking of claims 3. Overburdening of asylum officials 4. Inadequate technology
    9. 9. Common crime • Personal • Private Persecution • Political • Public forms of violence
    10. 10. Asylum seekers often interpret their experiences of gendered harm as personal, rather than political Rape victims, for example, may see their rape as a personal attack rather than an example of gender violence (Shuman and Bohmer 2004).
    11. 11. Ugandan asylum seeker: “Decided not to tell anyone because it is a shame and it is hurting, and I thought maybe it is not necessary to mention. The only question was why I left my country so I just said the things that I was comfortable with. And I didn‟t know where those information were going.”
    12. 12.  Chairperson of the Standing Committee: “ We have a number of domestic violence cases, but domestic violence is not easily covered by the definition. So we would get a case where the woman claims her husband beats her up or her husband‟s family doesn‟t like her or something like that, but seeing her as a particular social group and suffering domestic violence is difficult to currently bring into the Refugee Act. Those that we have seen have been decided as manifestly unfounded.”
    13. 13. A member of the Board said: “ It‟s the same as what you get with female genital mutilation, we would classify that as social group and we would allow those appeals,”
    14. 14. Rejection letter of Tazmanian man: “You said you left you country because of you r family problems. You said that your family chased you out because you are a gay. You also said that...your religion (Islam) does not accept gays, even your tribe (Sukuma) doesn‟t.”
    15. 15.  A RSDO said, “You mean she has run away from the country because her husband is beating her? That claim is not credible because... I don‟t know the constitutions of all countries, but anywhere where someone can be dealt with, they can deal with that...What did you do before coming to South Africa? Did your parents know? Did his family know? Before even you can go to the police. That‟s really where you need clear information- about what she did.”
    16. 16. Rape during war is violence while rape during peacetime is seen as common crime. They believe that the government has the capacity to protect the people who experience such violence during peacetime
    17. 17. FGM: Female Genital Mutilation Qualified for the asylum because of culture? NO. ..because FGM is foreign to South Africa